Since my loyal blogging buddy passed away, I have to confess to inspiration having been in short supply.
Left to my own devices, I’d have put the fictional Pepi aside for a future never-never date, and wallowed quietly alone.
Instead, I found myself mid-way through illustrations for Book 2, with an artist waiting to be paid, and a crazy goose unleashed upon the world.
The show must go on!
At first, I felt guilty and disturbed. But as the lines between fiction and reality blurred, there came a peace.
It’s as though he is still here with me, in the fullness of his youth – and I am comforted.
The process of illustrating Pepi has had its challenges. No matter how many times you rearrange words on a page, all you have in the end is an approximation of the picture you might like to draw.
With very few photos to reference, the question remains how to convey the pictures that exist inside your head?
To this end, I’ve been fortunate to work with a very talented illustrator, who is not insulted by my lame attempts at storyboarding.
Instead, with a little magic, she has transformed the vision of a shy, dorky everygirl and some squiggles on a page…
…into Mona, an unpretentious city girl…
…a peppy little puppy…
…and precious fragments of shared memory.
Anyone who knew Pepi, and cared to see past the exuberance of a little yappy dog, saw in him an undeniable spirit of love and positivity.
It was his sixteen year long gift to me.
Was it unconditional? Hell no! Like any feeling creature, he had his pet grievances and gripes. It’s just that he refused to be quelled. (And I can tell you, he would not have wanted to be kept inside a drawer…)
So, in honour of his unquellable spirit, I’ve decided to set a date for the launch of Hello Pepi.
Fingers crossed, ready or not, Books 1 to 3 will be out on 16 November.
There will be plenty of opportunities to grab a free copy, for more than anything, I want to share his joie de vivre with you.
If you could sketch a memory of the joy of life, what would it be?